Breakthrough is a monthly call to pray for the Arab world. In each edition we focus on a different country of the region, praying for ‘breakthrough’ over a particular stronghold.
I am proud of the good news! It is God’s powerful way of saving all people who have faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. (Romans 1:16 CEV)
This edition of Breakthrough comes to you just days after the end of Ramadan. We’re thrilled to share that in this thirty-day period around 50 individuals gave their life to Christ during a conversation with one of our responders. We hope this encourages you in your prayers. Clearly, God is doing something new among Arab Muslims because we have never seen numbers like these. This month, as we pray for Iraq, let’s pray with increased faith. Let’s boldly ask the Spirit to move in the hearts and minds of Iraqis young and old.
Country focus: Iraq
If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. (1 John 4:12 ESV)
The Republic of Iraq sits at the heart of the Middle East. It is a large country with a tiny, 36-mile-long (58 km) coast on the Persian Gulf. It borders the countries of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Iran.
Iraq is an ethnically diverse nation with an estimated population of 38 million. Up to 80 percent are of Arab descent, while there are smaller numbers of Assyrians, Kurds, Turkmen, Shabak, Armenians, Mandeans, Circassians, Yazidis and Kawliya.
Accurate figures are difficult to obtain, but officially 99 percent of the population is Muslim. Shia Muslims outnumber Sunni Muslims 65 to 35 percent. Just over one percent of the population identify themselves as Christian.
With the second largest oil reserves worldwide, Iraq could be a much more prosperous nation if only it could overcome its troubles. Good progress is being made in the battle to remove Daesh (ISIL), but afterwards those in leadership will need to focus, once again, on internal division. Sectarian violence is what led to the mass exodus of Iraqi Christians who once made up as much as 12 percent of the population.
This month’s stronghold is identity. As already stated, Iraq is an ethnically diverse country. Each ethnic group takes pride in its customs and beliefs. Unfortunately, some of these groups use their ethnic or religious identity as an excuse for violence.
Let’s pray for change. Instead of people being against each other, let them be against violence.
- Pray for lasting unity in Iraq. Pray that different ethnic groups would begin caring for one another – citizens of the same country, not enemies, building a future of hope and stability.
- Pray that peace would come as a result of a cultural shift rather than as something imposed and endured.
- Pray for those who have influence to make the first steps of reaching out to others: politicians, leaders of tribes, the older generations and respected members of communities. May they lead by example and not just with words.
- Pray that believers from a Muslim background, however few, would have an impact too. May they be bold in their witness to others and may they have opportunities to share life-changing Scripture with those who are against Christ’s message of hope and salvation. Pray that people’s hearts would soften and change.
Please also consider watching this brilliant video from PrayerCast.
Thank you for your prayers!
The Arab World Media Team